Mariah Carey may have turned her New Year's Eve performance into an unlikely triumph of performance art, but that's not what she was going for originally. From a logistical standpoint, the Times Square set for Dick Clark's Rockin' Eve was a disaster, leaving Carey without a functional earpiece, commentating on the nightmare unfolding around her for the whole country to watch.
Now, with 2017 a whole day-and-a-half old, Carey's representatives have started to point fingers and Billboard have dug right into the details.
Here, for example, is Carey's manager Stella Bulochnikov, explaining that Carey couldn't hear a thing through her in-ear monitors:
"We told them [the stage managers] that the in-ears were not working 10 minutes before the performance. They then changed the battery pack, and they were still not working on the frequency four minutes before the show. We let them know again, and they just kept counting her down and reassuring her that they will work as soon as they go live, which never happened -- at which point she pulled them out but could not hear the music over the crowd."
"After the show, I called [Dick Clark Productions'] Mark Shimmel and I said, 'What the f--- happened?' He said, 'Let me call you back,' then called me back and confirmed the in-ears were not working and asked if I would make a joint statement. I said, 'No way.' I asked him to cut the West Coast feed. He said he could not do that. I asked him why would they want to run a performance with mechanical glitches unless they just want eyeballs at any expense ... It's not artist friendly, especially when the artist cut her vacation short as a New Year's Eve gift to them."
That sounds like a disaster, but really it's just the start. You may remember that Carey herself told the audience, when she ordinarily would have been singing, that she hadn't soundchecked before the set. Nicole Perna of BWR-PR, who represents Carey, doubled down on this, saying that "production set her up to fail." Here's Billboard's follow-up on that:
But a production source told Billboard that Carey "had ample time to rehearse and chose not to," instead using a body double to rehearse in her place earlier in the day and that at the time, "all was working" on the technical side.
A body double. A fucking body double. If that's true, and nobody seems sure of anything anymore, then Mariah Carey must retrospectively be handed the award for artist of the year. She snuck in right as the clock struck midnight.
The case for the defence goes on. A statement from Dick Clark Productions contends, "To suggest that DCP [...] would ever intentionally compromise the success of any artist is defamatory, outrageous and frankly absurd." Which it is, I suppose. But we sped past absurdity a long time ago.
You should go read the whole thing over at Billboard. This soap opera is just getting started and I can't wait for the next episode.
Photo via Mariah Carey on Instagram.
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